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Negotiation Strategy: Going to the Balcony

The balcony in negotiation is where to go to see the big pictureTake In The View From The Side Line

Lawyers and claims professionals evaluate a case and expect it to settle in a certain range.  They also expect the other side will act in a certain way.  When the negotiation does not go as expected, we react.  The reaction is instinctive and emotional.  Hey, we’re human.

One of your strategies when the other side attacks you or your client or your case evaluation, can be to go to the balcony.

Bill Ury, in Getting Past No, expounded upon this strategy.  If you assume the negotiation is taking place on a theater stage, going to the balcony of the theater can give you a broader perspective of what’s really going on.  It has the following salutary effects:

  • It distances you from the fray.
  • It calms your reactive mind.
  • It allows you to slow down the negotiation.
  • It affords you time to name the game the other side is playing and decide how to react logically, as opposed to emotionally.

When negative emotions come up, and they will, take a deep breath.  Take a time out, either literally or figuratively.  Think it through.  As Ury says, “Keep your eye on the prize.”

Be proactive about emotions in negotiation.  They always surface—your client’s as well as yours.

We all know the slogan, “Don’t get angry, get even.”  In negotiation, it’s not about getting angry or getting even.  It’s about getting what your client wants, which is the most value from the negotiation.

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Posted in Mediation & Settlement, Negotiation, SPOT on Legal.

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